"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."
― Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was born on January 11, in the year 1755 or 1757 (birth year according to documents), in Charlestown, the capital of the island of Nevis, which was a part of the islands of the British West Indies. However, his exact birth year is unknown, as he was the illegitimate son of Rachel Lavien and James Hamilton.
Most of us know Alexander Hamilton as the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States of America; however, he was not just the Secretary for the Treasury Department, but also a soldier in General Washington's Army, an economist, a philosopher, founding father of the economy of the U.S., and one of the chief architects who shaped the great nation of the United States of America. He was also the founder of the nation's first political party, the Federalists. Below are some of his achievements that are worth noting.
Hamilton started working at a local import and export firm of Beekman and Cruger in the town of Christiansted. During this period of his life, he developed a special liking for the art of writing and reading. His journeys through the pages of the books took him far and away from the island of St.Croix, and he craved to explore the world beyond the limits of his hometown. He had also developed a very special liking for the town of Christiansted. So much was his affection for the town that when the Royal Danish-American Gazette published a letter written by Hamilton describing a hurricane that had struck the town, the local community collected a college fund for him.
Hamilton entered King's College (now Columbia University), in New York, in 1773. His first highly acclaimed and influential writing appeared as a criticism against pamphlets by Samuel Seabury of the Church of England. The pamphlets were written to promote the Loyalist cause in 1774. Hamilton's powerful reply was titled as 'A full Vindication of the Measures of Congress' and 'The Farmer Refuted'. Another set of writings that were published, criticized the Quebec Act. A set of fourteen writings titled 'The Monitor' were published anonymously in the Holt's New York Journal.
In the War of Independence
In the year 1775, the first encounter between American and British forces was witnessed in Boston, sparking off the American Revolution. Hamilton immediately signed up for the 'Hearts of Oak', which was a militia company from New York. His intricate study of military history, tactics, and strategies was useful for the company, and eventually, he was promoted to the post of a Lieutenant.
In the August of 1775, the company, Heart of Oaks, attacked and captured a battery of British artillery. During this raid on the British battery, the company was under heavy fire of HMS Asia of the British Navy.
After this victory, Hamilton was commissioned to the post of Captain by the New York Provincial Congress. On the orders issued by the Provincial Congress, he along with the Hearts of Oaks company formed the New York Provincial Company of Artillery, which was given the task of protecting the island of Manhattan. The new artillery company that was made up of 60 men participated in the famous Campaign of 1776. The most active participation by the company was seen in the Battle of White Plains and the Battle of Trenton. The task of the company during this campaign was to keep the Hessians (German troops under British pay) at bay in the Trenton barracks.
Hamilton, due to his knowledge and skills in handling situations and overall skills as statesman and military leader, was quickly promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. On March 1, 1777, Hamilton joined General George Washington's services as an aide-de-camp. Hamilton's work as the Chief of Staff for Washington involved handling of all the documents that were transacted between Washington and Congress, state governors, and all the other Generals. At times, the documents were highly confidential in nature and needed to be drafted with great care. Hamilton was also involved in some high level tasks like acting as an emissary for Washington, intelligence, diplomacy, and negotiations.
After his term of duty in Washington's staff, he was given the command of the New York Light Infantry on July 31, 1781. The three battalions that were under his command, fought one of the bravest and bloodiest battle in the history of the United States, at Yorktown. The result of the Battle of Yorktown was that the attempts that the British made to regain the 13 colonies of America, finally ended.
As a Politician
Hamilton was a member of the Continental Congress from 1782 to 1783. He was also a member of the Philadelphia Constitutional Congress, in 1787. He was also one of the co-authors of the Federalist Papers. He was also among the politicians who advocated the ratification of the United States Constitution. He also played a very important role in the passing of the Naval Act, 1794, and the formation of the 'Revenue Marine', which has now led to the formation of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard.
He was also the only representative from New York to sign the Constitution of the United States of America.
As the First Secretary of the Treasury of the U.S.
Hamilton was one of the greatest contributors to the economy of the United States. As the first Secretary of the Treasury, he brought about significant changes in the economy. Many modern facilities, like credit creation, were introduced in the United States by him. In the year of 1789, he presented five extremely important reports before the United States that ultimately shaped its economy.
Two reports regarding public credit were presented in the House of Representatives. Another important reform that was integrated in the economy by Hamilton was a set of acts laying the regulations for the manufacturing industry and international trade and duties. He also initiated and supervised the establishment of the United States Mint. He stepped down from his position as the Secretary of the Treasury in 1795, securing the US economy and strengthening the federal government.
He was appointed as the Major General during the Quasi War from 1798 to 1800. He was the founder of the newspaper, New York Evening Post, which was founded in 1801.
Today, Alexander Hamilton is remembered as one of the greatest philosophers of the United States who laid the foundation for the nation's economy. His tombstone reads,"The PATRIOT of incorruptible INTEGRITY
The SOLDIER of approved VALOR
The STATESMAN of consummate WISDOM
Whose TALENTS and VIRTUES will be admired
Long after this MARBLE shall have mouldered into